Most arty types have a different sort of flavor to them. They ooze with creativity, there's no doubting that. It's their demeanor that's the giveaway. Firstly, it's those attentive and probing eyes, searching for the extraordinary. And then there's the ever-expanding imagination, which literally seem to have no boundaries. The mundane has no place in their lives.
Karuna Jerome is an arty type in her own right. She isn't into splashing paint onto canvases or meticulously chiseling away on a sculpture. Her art leans heavily on the craft. Simple things like adding a canopy of lace to decorative candles, applying streaks of gold onto a hand-made paper greeting card or stringing tiny beads of assorted colors and Aloha! Here's a lovely pair of earrings.
Her foray into art began as a 5-year old when she won the first prize at a school painting competition. "It was just a typical picture with the sun at the back, birds, a lake with boats in it and a tree," says Karuna as she reminiscences those specifics in that scenery she'd created using crayons. For most, including the teachers and her parents, it was a simple matter. But for Karuna, it was a thrilling moment. Did this winning effort spur her onto a career in art and craft? She agrees it was the motivating factor to a large extent, but more importantly she discovered there was a creative streak in her. "In the summer holidays I'd always paint or do something with art. Winning wasn't the only motivation. It just kept happening all along," she adds.
Karuna was sure she'd do something in art as she went through the motions of school and college. At first she thought she'd do fashion designing and then she toyed with the idea of an art course at the famed art school, Chitra Kala Parishad. "I wanted to do something in art but then, it kept changing and everyone told me that I must first finish my degree," says Karuna, a graduate from Christ College in Communicative English. Somehow, the thought of spending some 4 or 5 years on an art course didn't inspire her. She had other things on mind. It was a deep pursuit within to find a delicate balance to her aspirations and inspiration. She had offers to join a commercial designing outfit but preferred not to. "If you are on your own, you learn more. At least, that was my opinion," says a confident Karuna.
And then came the break. The local Church asked her to design their monthly newsletter and that she says, "Opened out a whole new world, because I found I could do a whole lot more." This motivated her to move on to designing posters, banners and she went a step ahead in designing backdrops for events as well. The creative juices were truly and surely starting to flow and Karuna pushed herself to design and create some very interesting stuff. Full-color brochures, bookmarks, invitation cards, bracelets, decorative candles, bridal bouquets, theme weddings, giveaways, Thank You cards and what have you. And some of these are painstakingly handmade with finishes of high quality. She doesn't just rest with these. She's always trying out new things - key chains, stickers - and supplies these to shops or makes them against a specific order.
Stained Glass is the new addition to her repertoire. She and her mother Veena Jerome ventured into this extremely taxing area with all seriousness and spent months learning the nitty-gritty of this craft. Veena is keen to develop her skills in Stained Glass and is awaiting specialized equipment to reach her soon before their garage hums with activity. So hopefully, the mother-daughter combination will then churn out colorful and exquisite artifacts.
At one point in her life there was this talk amongst her family circles that she ought to become a doctor. Karuna probably would have made a fine doctor, but then, winning that painting competition sort of fired her all up. Her 16 x 16 room is the typical arty-type dwelling. Her various works of art and craft strewn all over, the crowded message board on the wall, and as she sits before her Compaq Presario in her 16 x 16 room, creating images, change colors, you know there's a genius at work.